Chapter One: Everygirl Organizes

I wasn’t kidding when I opened this book. From the moment I walked into Barnes and Noble and laid eyes on it, I meant business. I’m not even 3 sentences into this post and already, I have a side note: If you want to jump-start a life change, visit Barnes and Noble. I found about 4 amazing books about being a business owner and aspiring manager/leader but decided to take my eagerness to succeed one step at a time, starting in my home.

Last week, Maria was one of my favorite contestants on Dancing with the Stars and the girl on E News (or Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood…?). This week, she’s one of my closest girlfriends and my imaginary mentor. Judge all you want, but I maintain this is much healthier than talking about Jessica Simpson, Jen Aniston, or Teresa Giudice as thought they were my actual friends.

These are a few of my real girlfriends.. The one on the left is getting marrieeed this weekend!

Chapter One:

(I actually read the Introduction first which I almost NEVER do. But I made a rule that I must read this book in order if I want to get my life in order.)

Organize your home. Here’s the opening blurb:

So far, I’ve become incredibly talented at “putting things away RIGHT AWAY” and successfully tackled the following:

  • My closet –  I now know how many and how few clothes I have. I have a lot of “clothes” but very few “outfits” and even fewer “statement pieces” and still fewer basics. *List Time!*
  • The kitchen drawers – ok, so I cheated a little here because they are normally meticulously organized, but I did have a junk-ish drawer (where we keep our Saran wrap, foil, and baggies) which is now immaculate, functional, stocked, and simplified. Oh yes.
  • The Dining Room console table junk drawer from hell – Now I would consider opening this drawer in front of others to grab a pen.
  • My book shelves in the living room – paired down, refreshed, re-arranged. ZEN.
  • The drawer in our side table in the living room
  • My nightstand drawer
  • The DVD baskets
  • My brand new linen closet!

In progress:

  • Our mail bins and filing
  • Shredder purchase (for papers from before we were married, like .. why? that was so over 3 years ago!)
  • Steamer purchase (for clothing)
  • Finding the perfect shoe rack (Ikea, you failed me on this one!)
  • Finding matching, flocked hangers so my silky, drape-y shirts and dresses don’t slip off (Ikea, once again…thanks for nothing!)

What I still need to work on:

  • Under the bed – This is where we keep collapsible duffel bags, rogue socks, bobby pins, and our family of dust bunnies. I want it to be where we keep nothing at all.
  • My dresser – This is cleaned out monthly and is so orderly it has bins in the drawers, but I’m also focusing on re-stocking it.
  • The kitchen cabinets
  • Our 3rd floor closet – I paired it down last winter, but until I can name 75% of its contents, it’s clutter.
  • My office/studio
  • My sewing supplies/fabric
  • The pile o’ give away stuff by the front door – Scheduled for pick-up October 30th! Yay!
  • The medicine cabinet – this, like the kitchen gets outta hand!
  • The ENTIRE MIDDLE BEDROOM OF HELL!
  • The basement <faints>
  • The “attic” <re-faints>

I must say, accomplishing this has been amazing. I feel more energized, motivated, responsive, responsible, aware, and clean. Everything is becoming simplified (not that it was ridiculous). It was both odd and freeing to completely empty my junk drawer last month. I wanted to superglue it shut so I couldn’t stash things, but then I wouldn’t be able to open it and see nothing but air.

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A New Book! And updates!

Hooray! I got a new book last night. It’s Maria Menounos’ guide to being lovely and awesome and organized. Over the past 3 years, I’ve done some re-aligning in my life – some involuntary and unwelcome, but all rewarding and fulfilling. Lately, I’ve been feeling particularly inspired and motivated with my career, my health, and my house. I’ve found that when I focus on these three things, everything else seems easier to organize and handle. And I’m happy. And we’re happy, Andrew and me.

Since I’ve been slugglish here for the past few months, I’ll catch you up on what we’ve been accomplishing!

  • The biggest, most exciting news is that our powder/laundry/mudroom is coming together so well! After rebuilding the entire back wall of our house, reinforcing the floor joists/support, and installing plumbing+HVAC+electric from scratch, we’re finally insulated, dry-walled, and well-lighted!

  • I’m working *admittedly* slowly and steadily on the guest room. After sanding down the super-grit walls, scraping the most stubborn trim, and spackling those plaster walls, I have the first coat of paint up. Unfortunately, I have zero progress photos, but picture Sherwin Williams’ Sedate Grey (but the Olympic version, cross-referenced at Lowes) with soft white trim and warm wood floors. Then picture these colorful, white framed prints over the bed! No more spilling tonight! But the big reveal involves some $13 a piece lamps from Lowes and some adorable side tables from Homegoods! Eeeee! Can ya’ wait!?

The bottom right reads: It’s Time to Dream 🙂

  • Our kitties are being cute in the midst of this renovation hurricane…

  • And I’ve been collecting super stylish photos like this to share in my blog…

  • A note on the “health” improvements: I’m finally able to exercise again (after my rib fracture) and I’m loving it. Every mile. Every sore muscle. I’m challenging myself and feeling accomplished. The perfect, crisp, fresh-scented fall weather helps a little. I haven’t made it back to trail running with Andrew yet, but I do miss views like this during my workouts..

  • Oh, and I suppose cute garden photos like these are significant, too. I mean, those hostas are HUGE. That field mouse is, too!

I can’t wait to share more fun and designer updates!

Sunday Finds: June Edition

While I’m stuck resting in bed for what seems like the entire summer (but hopefully is not!), I’m finding so many pretty photos of pretty places and spaces and graces. It’s true. So as to not drive my Pinterest followers away with a rib-rest-induced tidal wave of coolness and since I’ve been a wee lax over here among the fresh cuts, I’mma list it in a blog post.

Also, I’m almost finished reading an eye-opening book about finding your true self amidst the weaknesses, sour intentions, temptations, and tendencies of those around you. About being true to yourself against fitting in.  I haven’t been able to put it down and in fact, it’s beautifully written – inspiring me to write.. about beauty (<- blame the Aleve on that one).

I hope you enjoy. It’s a tad random, but doesn’t that feel sort of right on a summer Sunday afternoon?

Happy Pillows via Ada & Darcy

Door / Cabinet pulls to hold hand towels.

via BecauseIliketodecorate Blog | And this is for you because you loved my other DIY headboards to pieces!

Because it’s June… still. 🙂

Love from Julia.

On being brave.

And let this photo swallow you right up into it’s beauty and peace.

Happy Sunday,

A Fresh-cut Happy Project

I’m starting “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – for happy book info, hop over to here. I’m already finding a huge difference in my outlook on life, love, and design. (I put a happy color on that title! and I shortened it quite a bit!) To clarify, I’m not miserable or depressed by any means. I really am mostly happy. Yet, as I settle into my late 20’s, I’m feeling the whole “quarter life crisis” (who am I kidding? it’s really not that bad). I’m in that in-between stage where I know enough to know I’m destined for wonderful achievements, but not enough to achieve them by 30. Who wants to do that anyway?! I’m lookin’ at you Mark Zuckerberg. Ha. Rock on. This blog is scheduled to post over on my wall later… Digression. Add that to the list below.

Some words to describe where I am (I can’t believe I’m bolding this!): restless, hopeful, sometimes overwhelmed, scattered, lacking focus, disorganized, cluttered, rushed, inadequate, hasty, moody, busy, chatty, clumsy, totally nerdy, way vulnerable (ahoy, this post is my first step in making a change so I’m a little queasy! in a good way!). <cringe> <boo-hoo> <laughs at self>

Some words to describe where I’d like to be (bold’s okay here!): restful, energized, motivated, accomplished, reliable, thorough, organized, aware, peaceful, confident, focused, unconditionally loving, forgiven/forgiving, respected (by myself, especially), helpful, refreshed, fit, fulfilled, happy.

I heard that some chapter in the first half of the book talks about organizing your belongings and home. Moreover, I heard that this particular chapter will make one want to drop said book and dive into his or her junk drawer and not come out for days until everything is in order. With this in mind, I jump-started my own Happiness Project by tornado-ing my way through both dressers and closets in our bedroom so I wouldn’t interrupt my reading sesh. Next, I went for the junk drawer but sadly lost steam. It was 7pm on a Saturday. A girl’s gotta rest! It was glorious. I felt SO liberated. Clarified. Zen. I’m talking deep clean, people – vacuumed/dusted, changed the sheets (and duvet!!), 9 loads of laundry (not kidding), 4 bags of give-away, 2 bags of dry-cleaning/alterations – the whole sha-bang-a-lang. Yes ma’am, that was just said. My soul felt all happy and clean.

This is about the 3rd ruthless purge I’ve put my house through in the past 2 months. And man – I highly recommend it. I was suddenly content to sit down and study, read, and merely exist without dreading all the “things” I had in my closet and on my to-do list. Oh my, I had to write a to-do list!!

#1. Write a to-do list.

#2. Order “The Happiness Project” on Amazon.

#3. Do stuff.

#4. Do other stuff…

#5. Throw paper balls for my cats..

#6. Eat two bowls of cotton candy ice cream..

#7. Rinse bowl and put in dishwasher.

My personal happiness project is three-fold and will consist of daily accomplishments, goals, inspirations, reminders, design solutions, and ideas.
Fold number 1: being nice to me.
Fold number 2: love (my interactions with my hot man/family/friends/coworkers/strangers).
Fold number 3: my home which is best friends with my passion, interior design.

Simplicity. Balance. Style.

To kick it off, a first step in my journey:

Be happy with and grateful for what I have. Be thankful to myself and my husband for working hard to get where we are and attain what we have. Be thankful for friends and family who’ve supported us every step of the way, especially when we trip on rocks here and there. No, really. Be very happy about this. It’s amazing.

Garden Getaway

Yes, even as the weather is cooler and the leaves are trickling down around us, spending time outside is so refreshing and grounding. Here’s a garden scene that just took my breath away. How wonderful would it be to sit under a knit blanket with a friend and some hot cider in this setting? I hope you’re inspired to create your own space in nature to escape and gather your thoughts.

Garden Escape | Scotch & Scones via Tumbler

O.M.G. My world is complete…

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

We interrupt our regular Santa Fe Week broadcast to bring you great news: an entire year of attainable Sticks. That’s right. You heard me correctly. One year. Sticks. $18. Jackpot. And done. (Skipping off to my first Sticks-aholic Anonymous meeting!)

Here’s the handy candy landy link: Sticks Calendizzle!!

And since it’s August for about 26 more hours…it’s only appropriate as a teaser.

 

Fresh Cut Feng Shui: Part 1

Introduction: When it comes to the allure of Feng Shui, you’ll find many theories, sources, and rules out there in the great online ocean. I’m breaking ’em down and adding some tips to attaining serenity in your space. I’m beginning with Part 1 which focuses on Intention, Mood, and Organization. I decided to break my original rules into two parts as the whole organization portion is very time-consuming and zen-thirsty in itself. Rather than dive-in, let’s make this a soothing dip. I also believe it is very important to do this part correctly the first time (tried and true – as someone I know <cough> and not me <cough> hurried, gave up, and made a bigger mess! Again, never me. Someone I know…).

Part 1:  Intention, Mood, and Organization

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #1: Gently admit to yourself that your wacky, dated, uninspiring, slightly-messy home might benefit from a little ruthless purging. Decide “why” you want to clear your life and home before you approach the “how” of this change. And don’t overwhelm yourself with shame or the task will seem stressful, daunting, and punishing in nature. Clutter happens.  We all have closets, drawers, and crawl spaces full o’ things we don’t really want others to see. Ever.

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #2: Don’t rush – enjoy the process or you’ll spin your wheels (see ‘my’ personal account of failed Feng Shui above). You’re increasing your flow of energy by clearing your space of busy distraction and roadblocks. Feng Shui, which stems from wind and water, is designed to send un-used items and stale air on their way! Open some windows if a beautiful breeze is ‘a blowin’, open your mind, and [pry] open your CD-case (which you will be donating after transferring your tunes onto your fancy new external hard-drive, right? Right?). Keep your spirits and motivation positive with nature and music. I can’t decide if I want to suggest soothing jazz or upbeat pop. You choose what works for you, okay? I have found that country music annoys me and makes me want to run. I can’t explain why my favorite genre just doesn’t cut it, however.

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #3: Organize with organization. Devise an organizational outline of where items will eventually go (i.e. yard sale, good will, trash, recycling, etc.) and where they will be stored until they reach their destination (i.e. The 3 B’s: boxes, bins, and bags?). Sort. Label. Condense.

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #4: Be ruthless. Do you need to save every paper bank statement since before college? I don’t even want to look at my statements from college. The shredder is your friend. If your relationship with your shredder becomes rocky, meet your relationship therapist, the scanner. Compromise. On objects: do you use this item? Does it have sentimental value? Did you even know you had it? Have you missed it? Will you?  If the answers are “no,” whether hesitant or solid, Poof! Sayanara! Happy Trails! Pleased to meet you, clarity.

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #5: Donate with intention and generosity. Throwing away perfectly functional items invokes guilt which is not a very zen-emotion. Knowing your items are off to a good cause or a better home will bring calm and relief on its own.

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #6: Keep things you do use, but put them back in order and good condition. Wash, iron, fold, and lint-roll your clothing and bedding. Organize by season and keep access to these items clear. Don’t shove christmas lights into a bag, rather – wind them up neatly or you’ll be cursing yourself all the way to the North Pole come the holidays. Clean the area before you stow said boxes: under your bed, in the cabinet, under the sink, your closet shelf, your basement storage room, the list goes on…and on. Invest in neutral bins and boxes. Invest in matching hangers. Invest in visually pleasing order.

Bonus step that will make you feel oh-so-savvy: color-coordinate things like wrapping paper and ribbon, books, dishes, office supplies, and linens. Stack and stow things like pots, pans, and bowls with size order in mind.

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #7 Designate a room for sorting. Having a central organizational zone will prevent you from becoming distracted and distraught! I use my guest room or my big dining room table depending on the floor (and yes, I work by floor or room!). I take everything that doesn’t belong in a space and remove it. Instant zen, now let’s get to business on this pile!

Fresh Cut Feng Shui Rule #8: After returning from the goodwill, enjoying a glass of white wine, and a good night’s (or week’s) sleep, gather your cleaning products, vacuum cleaner, and buckets. Get ready for Part 2 of my compilation which covers Cleaning, Clearing, and Coordinating.

Some recommended books on organization and Feng Shui (Click on the image for link!):